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Northwest Lawmakers Continue Fight Against Indoor Tanning

Feb 25, 2013
Alexandra Kocik / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Research shows if you use a tanning bed before the age of 35, you are more likely to get skin cancer. That’s why legislators in Washington, Oregon and Idaho have been considering proposals to bar teenagers from indoor tanning salons. A bill in the Washington legislature to do this has died for the fourth year. But the idea is still alive in Salem and Boise.

Jessica Hewlett is just 22 years old and already a cancer survivor. Last March, her primary doctor sent her to a dermatologist because of a mole on her stomach.

Jessica Paterson / Flickr

SALEM, Ore. – An Oregon Senate panel has given the initial go-ahead to a measure aimed at reducing the cost of medical malpractice insurance. The proposal would set up a mediation system aimed at heading off costly litigation between injured patients and their doctors.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber testified in favor of the plan Thursday. He held up a signed agreement between two long-feuding rival groups.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

SHELTON, Wash. - It’s one of the most vexing problems state lawmakers face: how to curb the rising cost of healthcare. In Washington, there’s one specific line item in the healthcare budget that’s startling, but few at the Capitol are talking about: taxpayers now foot the bill for more than half of all births in Washington. But why is that number is so high?

At Mason General Hospital northwest of Olympia, a newborn baby protests as a nurse checks his temperature and his diaper. Jack arrived three weeks early after his mom – Carly Earles – endured a miserable pregnancy.

A new report finds Latinos in Idaho are struggling with many of the same health problems as the rest of the state’s population … but to an even worse extent. The wide-ranging demographic study is intended to guide policymakers on issues that affect Hispanics.

Overall, the findings paint a picture of a Hispanic population that's young and mostly born in the U.S. About half speak English at home and Latinos in Idaho are more likely to own their home than Latinos in other states.

Virginia Alvino / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – One of the most influential state lawmakers in Salem wants Oregon to make what he calls a “game-changing” investment in community mental health services. Democratic Senate President Peter Courtney proposes a dedicated tax or fee to cover the expense.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, fewer than half of adults who need mental health treatment actually get it. The number is even lower for young people.

Virginia Alvino / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon is working to expand medical coverage under the federal health care overhaul. But advocates of universal health care say it doesn’t go far enough. They rallied on the steps of the state capitol in Salem Monday -- the first day of work for the 2013 legislative session.

Among the rally's speakers was Wes Brain from southern Oregon. He said he has had cancer, and his daughter died of Leukemia four years ago. He believes there were unnecessary barriers for her treatment.

SALEM, Ore. - For decades, Oregon’s trial lawyers and doctors have battled over medical malpractice. Now, the state’s physician governor has brokered a deal aimed at reducing medical malpractice lawsuits. It’s one of the high-profile issues in the legislative session that gets underway Monday. But the state's medical community is deeply divided over the proposal.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon businesses and homeowners who are battling bed bugs would get a new level of anonymity under a measure being considered in Salem. A House panel will take up a bill next week that would shield data about bed bugs from public disclosure.

Steve Keifer with the Oregon Health Authority says bed bugs are much more prevalent in Oregon than they were just a few years ago. But how common are the tiny pests? No one really knows.

Jessica Paterson / Flickr


SALEM, Ore. – Recent mass shootings in Oregon and Connecticut have thrust mental health issues into the spotlight. Some Oregon lawmakers and mental health advocates hope there's enough momentum to keep the conversation front and center. Unlike gun control, there is a consensus that appears to be emerging on funding mental health programs. 

Drug Enforcement Agency

Here’s the latest wrinkle in implementing Washington’s new marijuana law: Can courts restrict people on probation from using pot recreationally? That question was the subject of a committee hearing Monday in Olympia.

Under Washington law, a judge can order a felon to refrain from alcohol as one of the terms of the offender's court supervision.

The idea is that drinking could lead someone to re-offend, says Lisa Johnson. She handles sexual assault cases for the King County Prosecutor's Office.

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